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50 articles

American at Heart (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Heroism - real and perceived, War - glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • No availability

Film that tells the story of the 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team through historical footage (including clips from the movie Go for Broke!), still photographs and interview with many Nisei veterans, their white commanders, and others tied to the story. American at Heart covers the origin of the units in Hawai'i and Washington, DC, basic training in Camps McCoy and Shelby, their experiences in combat in Europe, and their return to the Hawai'i and the continental U.S. after the war. The film also contrasts the experience of Japanese Americans in Hawai'i vs. those on the West Coast, outlining the mass forced removal and incarceration of the latter. Among those interviewed are General Mark Clark, the World War II commander of the Fifth Army and 15th Army Group in Europe, who discusses what he calls "the wrong decision" to send Japanese Americans to "concentration camps" and his attempts ...

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The Brighter Side of Dark: Toyo Miyatake, 1895-1979 (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art, Immigrant experience
  • No availability

A 1996 short documentary film by Robert Nakamura about the life and career of Los Angeles photographer Toyo Miyatake. Through Miyatake's personal and artistic life (he was very much engaged with other modernists of the 1920s and '30s), the film reveals the vibrant artistic and intellectual milieu of Los Angeles's Little Tokyo district prior to World War II as well as the impact Executive Order 9066 and Miyatake's wartime incarceration had on his artistic career. Using a camera lens that he smuggled into the camp at Manzanar where he was incarcerated, Miyatake reconstructed a camera and eventually became the official camp photographer, producing iconic images of camp life and the landscape of the Eastern Sierras. After the war, Miyatake was able to reconstruct his photography business and resume work at his studio in Little Tokyo. For generations, he was the community's most trusted portrait photographer, enlisted for weddings, graduations, and ...

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Chicago Goes to War, 1941-1945 (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • History
  • Importance of community
  • No availability

1992–93 exhibition at the Chicago Historical Society on the impact of World War II on Chicago. Among the topics covered in the exhibition is the resettlement in the Chicago area of Japanese Americans from wartime concentration camps. It was one of several major local exhibitions that appeared around the 50th anniversary of World War II and that included aspects of the local Japanese American story.

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Hiroshi Honda: Detained (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Art, History
  • Expression through art, Evils of racism, Displacement
  • No availability

Exhibition featuring the internment art of Hiroshi Honda at the Honolulu Academy of Art (HAA) which ran from June 21 to September 9, 2012. Hiroshi Honda: Detained, was the HAA's second exhibition of Honda's art, after Reflections of Internment: The Art of Hawaii's Hiroshi Honda in 1994. The exhibition included drawings and watercolors produced during Honda's internment in camps in Hawai'i and in the continental U.S. drawn from the HAA's permanent collection.

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Memories of Pop (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Family – blessing or curse, Forgiveness
  • No availability

Short story by Jiro Saito about a young college dropout Sansei returning home to San Diego for the funeral of his estranged father. Written in the first person voice of Mas Mayeda, it is set in around 1960. As the story begins, Mas gets a call from his sister Rose informing him of their father's death. Disowned by his father after dropping out of UC Berkeley's engineering program to become a writer, Mas had not seen the family in three years. Upon his return, Rose tells him that their father, though stubborn, indicated that he wanted Mas to return. Before the funeral, Mas sees old family photos that tell their story: his parents' wedding in 1927 (his Issei father married a Nisei woman from San Diego); a successful farm; his father becoming a community leader; his father's subsequent arrest after the attack on Pearl Harbor and the family's removal and ...

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Prejudice and Patriotism: Americans of Japanese Ancestry in the Military Intelligence Service of WWII (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • War - glory, necessity, pain, tragedy, Heroism - real or perceived
  • No availability

Documentary video that tells the story of Japanese Americans in the Military Intelligence Service during World War II, juxtaposing that story against the backdrop of the Japanese American wartime incarceration, highlighting the difficulties brought on by the loyalty questionnaire and its aftermath. Colin Powell introduces and closes the video, which is narrated by Ken Kashiwahara. The story is told using archival footage and photographs and interviews with many MIS veterans and others. No director is identified. The film was produced and funded by the Military Intelligence Service Association of Northern California and the National Japanese American Historical Society.

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Uncle Yozo (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Disillusionment and dreams, Importance of community, Optimism – power or folly
  • No availability

Comical story by Ted Tajima about an Issei man at an unspecified concentration camp who enlivens the first Christmas in camp by elaborately playing Santa. A regular contributor of stories to the Rafu Shimpo holiday edition, Tajima taught at Alhambra High for 35 years and led their acclaimed journalism program.

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Undaunted Courage, Proven Loyalty: Japanese American Soldiers in World War II (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • History
  • Heroism - real and perceived, Patriotism - positive side or complications, War - glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • No availability

Exhibition on Japanese Americans in the military during World War II that was organized by the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Public History Program in 2004. Undaunted Courage included the stories of the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and Military Intelligence Service as well as a kiosk featuring stories of Japanese American veterans collected by the Go For Broke National Education Center. The exhibition was one of eight exhibitions in the Little Rock, Arkansas, area that were part of the Life Interrupted project, a collaboration between the Japanese American National Museum and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Three of the exhibitions, all on some aspect of the Japanese American military experience, were displayed at the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History, the other two being Beyond the Call of Duty: Honoring the 24 Japanese American Medal of Honor Recipients and Witness: Our Brothers' Keepers.

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Dear Miss Breed (play)

  • Plays
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Communication – verbal and nonverbal, Evils of racism, Growing up – pain or pleasure
  • No availability

Play about a San Diego librarian who corresponded with incarcerated Japanese American children during World War II. Playwright Joanne Oppenheim adapted Dear Miss Breed from her children's book Dear Miss Breed: True Stories of the Japanese American Incarceration During World War II and a Librarian Who Made a Difference.

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An Abandoned Pot of Rice (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Displacement, Immigrant experience, Importance of community, Progress – real or illusion
  • No availability

Short essay by Hisaye Yamamoto DeSoto about the Kumamoto-mura community near Oceanside, California, where her family lived just prior to World War II. The pleasant reminiscences of life there are tempered by recollections of the chaos after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the events leading up to the forced removal of Japanese Americans from the West Coast. The title of the story comes from the narrator's recollection of making a pot of rice intending to make rice balls on the day of their forced departure, but forgetting about it, leaving the full pot behind. Years later, she returns to the site of the community, which subsequently became a large military base which for a time housed tens of thousands of Southeast Asian refugees. Noting the similarities with the concentration camps she and her family were in, she observes that this group was the third group of Asians to ...

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An American Story: The History of California's Nisei Veterans (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Heroism - real and perceived, War - glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • No availability

Short documentary on California's Nisei veterans produced by photographer Tom Graves. The video was funded by a grant from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program.

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Canefields and Deserts: Japanese American Internment (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • History
  • Evils of racism, Injustice
  • No availability

Early traveling exhibition assembled by the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) and displayed in venues in Honolulu and Denver, Colorado, in 1992. As part of the 50th anniversary commemoration of Executive Order 9066, JANM put together Canefields and Deserts, which opened at the Ala Moana Center in Honolulu on July 10, 1992. Curated by Pam Funai, the exhibition included photographs of Hawai'i internment camps Sand Island and Honouliuli, letter and sketches by artist George Hoshida, and a large scale model of Manzanar made by Robert Hasuike. After its brief ten-day run in Honolulu, the exhibition traveled to Denver in August 1992.

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A Divided Community (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Heroism - Real and Perceived, Patriotism - Positive Side or Complications
  • No availability

Film produced and directed by Momo Yashima that tells the story of the Heart Mountain draft resisters through the stories of resisters Frank Emi, Yosh Kuromiya, Mits Koshiyama and journalist James Omura. While Emi and Kuromiya tell their stories on camera, actor Ralph Brannen voices the words of Kuromiya and Omura. Paul Tsuneishi, a veteran and a member of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) who supported the cause of the draft resisters, provides on camera narration and background. Interviews with lawyer Deborah K. Lim, author of The Lim Report, and historian Art Hansen are also included. The title refers both to divisions between Issei and Nisei during the war and between the JACL and those who resisted aspects of the mass incarceration.

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Encounter with the Past: American Japanese Internment in World War II (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Injustice
  • No availability

A 1980 documentary film on the history of the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans at Manzanar, produced and directed by Tak Shindo, a Nisei musician and composer, best known for his albums from the jazz exotica music era and television soundtrack work. The film is built around color footage of the camp taken by Aksel Nielson, the director of recreation at Manzanar. Narrated by Shindo, the film includes his own experiences at Manzanar, military service, and subsequent musical career. Though he had passed away prior to the making of the film, Nielson's voice can be heard describing scenes of sporting events and gardens at Manzanar, and his wife, Melva Nielson, a music teacher at Manzanar, is interviewed at length on camera. Among those appearing in the film are Military Intelligence Service veteran Yukio Tamura, artist Estelle Ishigo, photographer Toyo Miyatake, nursery owner Shinobu Mashiko, Tamotsu Tsuchida, and actor ...

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Harsh Canvas: The Art and Life of Henry Sugimoto (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art, Immigrant experience, Injustice
  • No availability

A 2001 biographical documentary film on the life and work of Issei artist Henry Sugimoto, based on the artist's memoirs and testimony before the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians. The film highlights Sugimoto's art through archival and contemporary footage and follows his life's journey from immigration to his incarceration with his family during World War II in Arkansas, and postwar relocation to New York. Actor Mako narrates the film in the voice of Sugimoto. Interviews with his daughter Madeleine Sugimoto and sister-in-law Naomi Tagawa provide additional information on his life, while fellow artist George Mukai and curators Kristine Kim and Stephanie Barron discuss the significance of his work.

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Journey of Honor (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • War - glory, necessity, pain, tragedy, Heroism - real and perceived
  • No availability

Documentary film produced and directed by Stuart Yamane centering on a trip by a group of Hawai'i Nisei veterans of the 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team to Italy some fifty-five years after they fought there during World War II. In documenting the trip, Yamane reconnects with his late and estranged father Masakichi, a World War II veteran, who had served with some of the men on the trip. Led by columnist and military history buff Bob Jones, the trip includes stops at Pietrasanta, where they the men are honored in a Liberation Day ceremony and take part in the unveiling of a statue honoring Sadao Munemori; Mt. Fologorito, where they have a reunion with the Alpini, the Italian Mountain Corps who guided Allied troops; the American Cemetary and Memorial in Nettuno; and, finally, Monte Cassino, a mountain that was the site of one of their most difficult ...

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Witness: Our Brothers' Keepers (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • History
  • Evils of racism, Patriotism - positive side or complications, War - glory, necessity, pain, tragedy, Heroism - real and perceived
  • No availability

Exhibition on Japanese Americans and Jewish Americans in the military during World War II and their participation in the liberation of Nazi extermination camps organized by the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) and the National Museum of American Jewish Military History. Witness debuted in on April 20, 1995, in JANM's Legacy Center Gallery to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Dachau. It closed on August 27, 1995.[1]

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No-No Boy (play)

  • Plays
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Convention and rebellion, Family – blessing or curse, Heroism – real and perceived, Individual versus society, Role of men
  • No availability

2010 play by Ken Narasaki based on John Okada's classic 1957 novel. While the play largely followed the plot of the novel, the decision to change the ending to a "happy" one proved controversial.

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The Nisei Monologues: Children of the Camps (play)

  • Plays
  • Grades 9-12
  • Grades 9-12
  • Displacement, Evils of racism, Hazards of passing judgment, Injustice, Patriotism – positive side or complications
  • No availability

Three actor play in which the actors give monologues adapted from actual words of Japanese Americans about incarceration, covering the range of the experience from witnessing Japanese planes flying overhead to attack Pearl Harbor, to the arrests of Issei community leaders, the roundup of Japanese Americans, and resistance and cooperation in the concentration camps. Though most pieces are not attributed, first person narratives by Min Yasui, James Sakamoto, and Joe Kurihara are noted. In between the monologues are stories from Japanese mythology and statements by various government officials both in support of and opposing the forced removal and incarceration.

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Comforting the Afflicted (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Importance of community, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice, Role of Religion – virtue or hypocrisy
  • No availability

Moderated panel discussion led by Phil Shigekuni with four prominent Japanese American Protestant ministers with ties to Los Angeles who were incarcerated during World War II. Three—Rev. Paul Nagano, Rev. John Miyabe, and Bishop Roy Sano—were at the Poston, Arizona, concentration camp, while Rev. Sam Tonomura was a boy in British Columbia caught up in the forced removal of Japanese Canadians during the war. The discussion covers the men's experiences during the war and the role of the church during the incarceration, particularly with regard to issues of "loyalty" and resistance. The men talk about the role of the church in the Redress Movement, in bridging divides in the Japanese American community today, and in the anti-Muslim/Arab climate following the 9/11 attacks. The format of the film largely follows that of a "talking heads" type television program, with the insertion of still historical photographs.

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Dark Clouds Over Paradise: The Hawai'i Internees Story (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • History
  • Lost honor, War - glory, necessity, pain, tragedy, Rights - individual or societal
  • No availability

Exhibition organized by the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i (JCCH) that focused on the World War II internment of Japanese Americans living in Hawai'i. Originally organized in 2004, a later traveling version of the exhibition debuted in 2006 and traveled widely in Hawai'i over the next several years.

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Heiji (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Fiction
  • Female roles, Injustice, Power of the past
  • No availability

Short story by Jeff Tsuyoshi Matsuda about a disheveled elderly Nisei widower who goes to a empty field in his Westchester, California, neighborhood every day for reasons that no one can figure out. In slowly revealing the reason for his quest, Heiji Taguma's wartime family history is revealed. His family had farmed twenty acres in the area before the war, but lost their crops and their farm in the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. Heiji's father Masu was among the Issei arrested by the FBI and was taken to the Bismarck, North Dakota internment camp, eventually rejoining his family at Manzanar. But he returned a broken man: while Heiji resettled in Chicago, he refused to leave Manzanar and died there just after the end of the war. Heiji's odd ritual seemed to have been triggered by the death of his wife Keiko, who had once cooked ...

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"Iwao-chan!" (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Everlasting love, Motherhood
  • No availability

Short story by Yachiyo Uehara about a Nisei woman's bond with her deceased Issei mother in the years after the war. As the story begins, Yachiyo is on a plane from New York to San Francisco around 1950 with her two-year-old son Andy, the first time since the war years that she would be returning to her hometown. She will be moving there, initially staying with her Issei father. She is saddened that Andy will never meet her mother, whom she last saw in 1944 when she left Heart Mountain for New York and who subsequently died after they returned to San Francisco. She is relieved that her father, who dislikes children, tolerates Andy and even seems to like him. But she is also concerned about the dangerous stairs leading to the small house. She finds that despite her death two years prior, her mother's presence permeates the house. One ...

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Interactions (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Power of the past
  • No availability

A 2000 film that chronicles the experiences of four high school students, who are given four days to find out about Japanese American teenagers in U.S. concentration camps during World War II. Equipped with a phone and a computer, Kiet, Christina, Miguel and Lluvia interview former inmates and visit the site of one of the camps, while contemplating the meaning of the wartime incarceration and its relevance to the present.

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Mackerel Sky (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Communication – verbal and nonverbal, Immigrant experience, Will to survive, Working class struggles
  • No availability

Short story by Jeff Matsuda in which a young Sansei man recalls various stories about his Issei grandfather: visiting him and his grandmother when he was a child; recreating the old man talking about his youth in Japan and his early years as a laborer in the U.S.; and visiting him with his mother when he was in college, and his grandfather was a nearly deaf old man. In the process, the narrator recalls his grandfather's internment: as a fisherman on Terminal Island, he was arrested a week after Pearl Harbor and sent to Bismarck and then to an unspecified camp in New Mexico, while the rest of his immediate family spent the war years in Japan.

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